I've been getting brides lately that are claiming they can get cheaper linens from some person they found on Craigslist renting items from out of their home. On many occasions, these same bride have called me last minute for emergency linens because this business or individual either rented out their reserved linens to someone else, disappeared, or didn't deliver what they promised. They ended up paying me more money due to overnight shipping rush orders to get the linens they should have rented from me in the first place.
What do you get when you rent from an established company?
- Service - Many of these craigslist "businesses" don't press their linens - and sometimes they won't even tell you this. Some brides are willing to make their poor aunties stay up all night hand-ironing their tablecloths the night before the wedding just to save a buck - Is it worth it to you? Always ask about pressing or condition before you pay.
- Clean - How many people do you know have commercial washing machines in their garages? What guarantee do you have that your linens will be clean? What is their satisfaction policy?
- Accountability & Reliability- What recourse do you have if they do something wrong? If they double book your rental items? If they don't deliver or vanish after you pay them a deposit? How do you report a person renting from their home to the Better Business Bureau? How do you get your money back? Did they have a contract that stated their responsibility to YOU? An established company not only has insurance, licensing, and contracts with VISA/MC companies to ensure accountability, they have their reputation to maintain - and in a world of technology where a business's reputation can be crushed with one bad review - your satisfaction is paramount.
- Contribution - This is one you may not have thought of. Legitimate companies are registered with the state, city, and Federal governments. They pay taxes that go back into your community. They collect the sales taxes that fund highways, law enforcement, health and welfare programs, transportation systems, and more.
YES you will pay more money for your linens. Because the costs pay for commercial washing/pressing, paying employees that give you great service, and a showroom or place of business where you can go to ensure you are giving your money to a reliable business. Remember - you always get what you pay for. But the most important thing you are paying for is your PEACE OF MIND.
Of course, if money is an issue, as it is for most brides - do you research first. Ask them if they have references, check if they have Yelp, Google, or WeddingWire reviews.
Ask them if you can see their contract and policies. If it looks good, give them a try. There is risk involved in ANY service transaction - try your best to minimize it.
This doesn't mean you have to use a national mail-rental linen company, or a large chain - your town has a local family-owned rental company with good people excited to give you your money's worth.